Deanna Quirke, Senior Program Manager, joined VMware in 2019. Originally based in Cork, Ireland, Deanna relocated to Vancouver, Canada in 2020 and works remotely with the VMware Talent Discovery team. In this article, she describes her career journey from starting out as a Sourcer, and how she has carved out a new role blending her passion for project management, technology, and talent acquisition, plus her top tips for anyone seeking to do the same.
First Day on the Job
I remember my very first day at VMware walking into our Cork office, in Ireland, dressed head to toe in business wear. I was new to the tech industry and business casual wasn’t part of my vocabulary. I was met by my then-manager Brendan Rodgers, little did I know the journey I was about to embark on with VMware.
Our first conversation in the Cork cafeteria has always stuck in my mind. Brendan told me about the possibilities of working within Talent Acquisition and described one opportunity he had where he created his own role. A seed was planted, and I decided at that moment that I wanted to create my own role. It sounds ambitious (on day one of a new job), but now I find myself in a newly created role.
My first role in the VMware Talent Acquisition team was as a Sourcer. My main responsibilities were to (literally) find and source people for various roles and to partner with the recruiter and hiring manager for the role. However, I always knew that I wanted to work on projects that supported organizational change within Talent Acquisition. I then went on to become an Engagement Program Manager and am now a Senior Program Manager.
My main responsibilities are to lead projects in our Talent Acquisition team that support VMware’s commitment to a diverse workforce while partnering closely with innovative leaders such as supporting market intelligence, candidate engagement strategy, productivity improvements, team enablement and training, and VMware’s outreach programs.
And – I am writing this from Vancouver, Canada a long way from my first day in Cork Ireland but that is a story for another day!
Advice for Changing Roles in your Current Company
On my journey to becoming a Senior Program Manager within our Talent Discovery Team, I received a lot of support and guidance along the way that I would like to share with anyone who is thinking of creating a new role for themselves or looking to change roles within their current company.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you don’t need to have all the answers just an interest in seeking out the answers.
Excel in your current role
When I first started talking about my career interests with my team, I received a great piece of advice – strive to succeed in my role, and then aim to do my main role 75% of the week and use 25% for additional projects. And so I worked really hard to learn from those around me to hit my goal and made space to focus on additional projects.
Step out of your Comfort Zone
Gradually, I started to gain credibility within my team, and then I got opportunities to work on projects, while also identifying areas where we could innovate. When I first began working on projects that needed to scale across a large sourcing team, I was a little out of my depth if I am honest. However, I used my internal network and strong communication skills to get the support I needed to deliver on projects. My advice is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you don’t need to have all the answers just an interest in seeking out the answers.
I worked with some amazing mentors within VMware who supported, advised, and guided me as I started to map out a role that technically didn’t exist. They created introductions, provided continuous feedback on the business case for the role, and helped me prepare to present to key decision-makers. Mentorship is an invaluable resource to support the development and enhancement of your career.
Reflect on Your Accomplishments
This journey took time and creating something new requires patience, consistency, dialogue, partnerships, and commitment. It’s important to remember that there is also the risk that your goal won’t materialize. I have learned that a destination is key, but you need to be present throughout the journey. Also, reflecting on how far you’ve come, appreciating the learnings, the experiences, the partnerships, and of course, the unavoidable failures along the way are so important and valuable.